Snowmaking Quality Control to Produce Perfect Consistency
Ski resorts in North America depend on snowfall for enthusiasts to enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. However, when nature does not cooperate, artificial snow is required to maintain the base level. Artificial snow consists of small particles of ice that are used to increase the snowpack. It is produced by a machine that uses a high-pressure pump to spray a mist of water into the cold air. The water droplets crystallize to form artificial snow.
One of the most important components of any snow-making system is the snow-making machine, called a snow cannon or snow gun. There is a variety of designs on the market; however, most contain common elements including pumps, compressors, fans, and controls. The fan assemblies attach to many other components, which are linked to a remote pump house. To obtain water and air, hoses are connected to the fan assembly. The hoses also connect to a series of compressors and pumps that move air and water through pipes, up the mountain.
In the snow-making process, water is first pumped up the mountain to the machines. Depending on the type of machine, water may be mixed with a nucleating material before pumping or when it first enters the machine. The air/water ratio can be adjusted to improve the quality of the snow. High-quality snow is easier to groom, lasts longer, and holds its shape better. To obtain high quality, a snow-making operator needed a flowmeter that could provide a fast and accurate measurement.
After reviewing several suppliers, the pump provider decided to install Yokogawa’s ADMAG TI – AXG magnetic flowmeter (magmeter) with EtherNet/IP. The AXG is used to measure the water moving from the pump to the snow cannons. The accurate measurement allows the operator to monitor and control the water in the mixture to produce artificial snow with the perfect consistency.
The reliable accuracy of the AXG magmeter is a result of Yokogawa’s proprietary, dual-frequency excitation method. This method combines traditional high/low-frequency excitation methods to ensure greater stability and quicker response even if noise or other problems are present in the line. The EtherNet/IP option simplified set-up through remote access, faceplates, and easy PLC integration. Ethernet/IP also provides the capability to handle large amounts of data at a higher speed than traditional analog signals.
• The ADMAG TI magmeter dual-frequency excitation method enables high-quality monitoring and control through accurate flow measurement.
• EtherNet/IP communication provides high-speed data collection and simplified integration with PLCs.
• Total Insight capabilities include meter verification, advanced diagnostics, and offline trend analysis through a removable micro SD card.